Associated Faculty


Brian Chishom – UBC Anthropology

Archaeology and physical anthropology, prehistoric subsistence, archaeological science, bio-archaeology, paleo-anthropology, Pacific Northwest, Japan, S.E. and E. Asia.

Jonathan Lanman – Oxford Psychology

I am interested in applying the theories and tools of both social and cognitive anthropology to issues in the study of religion, atheism, morality, and intergroup relations.  My DPhil research yielded both a descriptive and explanatory account of atheism in the contemporary West, which I am writing up as a monograph.  At present, I am collaborating with anthropologists and psychologists on an ESRC Large Grant, entitled Ritual, Community, and Conflict, to ascertain the effects of ritualized behaviour on ingroup cohesion and outgroup hostility across a range of contexts.

David Pokotylo – UBC Anthropology


Mark Collard – SFU Archaeology

Asian Studies

Tim Cheek – UBC Institute of Asian Research

My research interests focus on the areas of culture and thought, particularly on what happens to ideas when they cross cultural communities and what happens to thinkers when they borrow concepts and ideologies. I work on ideology and intellectuals in China, Taiwan and (to some degree) Eastern Asia. I’m interested in what has happened to Marxism in Sinophone communities in history and how Chinese thinkers use concepts from Marxism, as well as “Liberalism”, in China today. I’m as interested in how my Chinese colleagues think with these ideologies and systems of thought in Mandarin as in what they think. In short, I’m interested in thinking about Chinese thinking.

Edward Slingerland – UBC Asian Studies


Leticia Avilés – UBC Zoology

I am interested in elucidating the forces responsible the association of lower level units into higher levels of organization and the consequences of such associations on the structure and dynamics of populations.

Greg Bole – UBC Zoology

I have studied the role of sexual selection in speciation and am now an Instructor in the departments of Zoology and Botany teaching first year Ecology, Genetics and Evolution and third year Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology.  I also have a strong interest in the history of evolutionary thought and the life and work of Charles Darwin.

Michael Doebeli – UBC Zoology

I am interested in using mathematical epidemiological models to study cultural evolution, and in particular the evolution of cultural diversity.

Darren Irwin – UBC Zoology

My research is directed toward understanding how new species arise, how geographical variation within species is produced, and how behaviors evolve. I study carefully chosen model systems using an integrative approach, employing techniques such as DNA sequencing, computer-assisted analysis of vocalizations, observation and experimentation in the field, and computer simulation. Research systems have included passerine birds in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Jennifer Jacquet – UBC Fisheries/Mathematics

I am a post-doctoral research fellow interested in the role of social approval — honor and shame — in cooperation dilemmas, particularly when it comes to the management of common property resources, such as fisheries and the atmosphere.

Mimi E. Lam – UBC Fisheries

Mimi applies her research background in theoretical chemistry and physics to investigate three related interdisciplinary themes:  1. the evolution of human cognition and behaviour; 2. the cultural contexts of human learning; and 3. the human dimensions of fisheries.

Daniel Pauly – UBC Fisheries

Sarah Otto  – UBC Zoology

I am a professor in the Department of Zoology, studying population genetics and evolutionary biology. I develop and analyse mathematical models to study how populations change over time. The aim of this work is to identify when and whether particular evolutionary transitions are possible.


Mukesh Eswaran – UBC Economics

Mukesh Eswaran seeks to understand the evolutionary underpinnings of economic behavior such as altruism, spite, status-seeking, tribalism, and the like. He is particularly interested in the economic consequences in contemporary societies of these evolved behaviors.

Patrick Francois – UBC Economics

Business Cycles and Growth, Development Economics, Non-profit Organizations, Norms and Institutions.

Ashok Kotwal – UBC Economics


Barbara Dancygier – UBC English

Barbara Dancygier specializes in the cognitive study of language, in colloquial discourse and in literary contexts. Her areas of research include cognitive linguistics (especially construction grammar, metaphor theory, mental spaces theory, and conceptual integration [or blending] theory) and cognitive approaches to literary and narrative discourse.

Jessica de Villiers – UBC English

Linguistic discourse analysis (clinical linguistics, Systemic Functional Linguistics); Autism Spectrum Disorders (pragmatic skills, Asperger’s Syndrome, Theory of Mind, Central Coherence Theory, conversation,); Linguistic pragmatics (the semantic/pragmatic boundary, pragmatic determinants of literal content).

Health Sciences

Pablo Nepomnaschy – SFU Health Sciences
Anthropology, Biology and Health Sciences

My academic interests center on the effects of stress, broadly defined as any challenge that activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, on growth, development and health throughout the human life course. I attempt to study each one of these subjects from a variety of angles, so that the emerging picture is as complete as possible. To achieve this goal, I draw on my interdisciplinary background in physiology, ecology, anthropology and epidemiology and collaborate with colleagues from a broad range of complementary fields.


Keith Benson – UBC History and Green College

Biology, Medicine, Medical History and Ethics.

Robert Brain – UBC History

I have research interests in the history of biology, psychology, and linguistics. Current research projects include a book on physiological and evolutionary aesthetics in the nineteenth-century, and an edited volume on neuroscientific and humanistic approaches to the problem of empathy.  In 2009 I will participate in an American Historical Review “Conversation” on “Historians and Evolutionary Psychology”.

Carla Nappi – UBC History

Neil Safier – UBC History

Early modern cultural and intellectual history, focusing on eighteenth-century European empires (esp. France, Portugal, and Spain) and their overseas territories, with particular interest in South America; geography, print, and the cross-cultural transmission of knowledge; literary genres of travel and exploration; narratives of cultural encounter between Europe and the non-European world; comparative imperial history; the disciplinary origins of anthropology and the natural sciences.

Philosophy and Ethics

Murat Aydede – UBC Philosophy

Murat Aydede works in philosophy of psychology/cognitive science, and more generally, philosophy of mind.

John Beatty – UBC Philosophy

John Beatty’s research focuses on the theoretical foundations, methodology, and socio-political dimensions of genetics and evolutionary biology (he is one of many UBC faculty specializing in history and philosophy of science, and science and technology studies).

Matt Bedke – UBC Philosophy

I work in ethical theory, where I focus on questions about the objectivity of morality, whether there are true moral claims, whether moral judgments are more like beliefs about the world or more like attitudes of approval and disapproval, etc. One aspect of this research examines evolutionary explanations for certain features of ethical thought, discourse and behavior.

Peter Danielson – UBC Applied Ethics

Theoretically, my research project, Artificial Morality, models how different kinds of agents, more or less ethical, interact, using the tools of agent-based computer modeling and computer-mediated communication. Practically, I am interested in the ethics of technological change.

John Koolage – UBC Philosophy

My research focuses primarily on the nature of scientific inquiry and scientific epistemology.  I am very interested in consilience – when two, or more, seemingly disparate areas of inquiry are “jumped together” by the introduction of a new conception.  I teach for Cognitive Systems and Philosophy here at UBC.

Eric Margolis – UBC Philosophy

My research is largely concerned with the nature of human concepts.  I am interested in the way that concepts allow us to represent the world and in the innate features of the mind that make the human conceptual system possible.

Bence Nanay – UBC Philosophy

Ori Simchen – UBC Philosophy

My work falls mainly within an intersection of the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, and metaphysics, although I have also done some work in the philosophy of law. Recent topics of interest include cognitive relations and their reports, the metaphysics of modality and essence, and epistemic modality and its relation to modality “tout court.”

Christopher Stephens – UBC Philosophy

My interests are in the conceptual and philosophical foundations of evolutionary theory with a focus on debates about the levels of selection, adaptationism, the nature of fitness, and the use of decision and game theoretic models to understand the evolution of rationality.


Susan A.J. Birch – UBC Psychology

My research program explores social cognition from a developmental perspective. More specifically, my research examines ‘social perspective taking’ or ‘theory of mind’–the set of processes and abilities involved in reasoning about others’ mental states. The overarching aim of my research program is to elucidate how both abilities and limitations in social perspective taking impact different aspects of learning, development, and decision-making.

Todd C. Handy – UBC Psychology

Visual attention concerns the mental processes by which we shape visual information and prioritize its relevance for thinking and acting.  The goals of my research are to understand the fundamental nature of these processes, how we use them in everyday life, why we’ve evolved them in the first place, and how their organization varies in different clinically-defined populations.

J. Kiley Hamlin – UBC Psychology

My research focuses on the role of evaluative processes in our everyday cognitions about the world. In particular, I examine our tendency to judge individuals’ actions as good or bad, as deserving of reward or punishment, and as morally praiseworthy or blameworthy. In addition, I ask whether and how these social and moral evaluations influence our understanding of others’ future acts, their mental states, and their underlying personalities. I examine these questions using preverbal infants and young toddlers, in order to study the foundational origins of these processes before complex cognitive abilities (such as language and inhibitory control) fully develop, and prior to the influences of cultural norms and values.

Steve Heine – UBC Psychology

Joseph Henrich – UBC Psychology

Myriam Juda – UBC Psychology

My research interest lies in examining the evolutionary function of theory of mind in terms of solving problems of cooperation and/or cultural learning. For this, I am conducting various studies with normally developing children (3-6 years old) and adults as well as children with autism spectrum disorder.

I am from Luxembourg but completed my B.A, in Psychology at Simon Fraser University and my M.Sc at the University of Liverpool in Evolutionary Psychology. After venturing off into the field of Chronobiology during my PhD at the University of Munich, I am now part of Joe Henrich’s Culture Cognition, and Coevolution lab at the University of British Columbia.

Miriam Matthews – Oxford Psychology

My interests are encompassed within the field of social psychology and, more specifically, within the area of group processes and intergroup relations. I am interested in the contextual, individual, and group factors that influence intergroup perceptions and behaviors.  For example, I examine factors related to the psychological aspects of international relations, political attitudes, and political actions. I also assess psychological well-being, community activism, and educational interventions. I am currently collaborating with others on an ESRC grant to examine the influence of ritual on ingroup cohesion and outgroup hostility.

Ara Norenzayan – UBC Psychology

Mark Schaller – UBC Psychology

Mark Schaller’s research focuses on stereotypes, prejudices, person perception and other aspects of social cognition. In doing so, he also exploring bigger, broader questions about the influence of human evolutionary history on psychological processes, and about the impact of psychological processes on human culture.
Personal web page:
Lab web page:

Toni Schmader – UBC Psychology

Toni Schmader’s research examines questions at the interface of self and social identity to examine how individuals are affected by their membership in social groups. Much of her research examines the consequences and coping strategies employed by those who have lower status or are otherwise stigmatized within a social hierarchy.

Jessica Tracy – UBC Psychology

Jess Tracy is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Social-Personality area at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, B.C., and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar. She received her Ph.D. in social-personality psychology from the University of California, Davis, and her B.A. from Amherst College, in Massachusetts. She grew up in Washington DC.  She is the recipient of the 2010 Early Career Award from ISSI.